Day 18 ~ Change

Day 18...Super-busy day here, not much time for blogging, but I ran across this post yesterday and it went along so well with things I've been thinking lately that I decided it was time for a re-post.  

I am thankful for change.  I don't like change...but I am thankful for God's changing work in His people...in me!  I am thankful that He NEVER changes, but that He is patient and merciful in His work of change in my life.  And I am so thankful for the people in my life who have hung in there through all the changes in my life in the last 7 years.  It's sometimes hard to watch someone we love go through major changes, not only in life, but in the very core of who they are.  I'm thankful for those who have continued to love and pray for and listen and laugh and cry with me no matter how hard it got.  Many thoughts on this this morning...all week, actually, but no time...so here's a repost from February of this year...

Never the Same...

“I will never be the same again,

I can never return, I’ve closed the door.

I will walk the path, I’ll run the race
And I will never be the same again.”

~ lyrics by Geoff Bullock ~

"You will never be the same person you were before this happened.  That's not entirely a bad thing.  God has done things in my life through the circumstances of the last few years that I don't know that He could have done any other way.  Those have been good changes.  But I am not and will never be the same person I was before...none of us are."  

Just a few days ago, I said those words to a friend going through a life-altering "storm of life". I ached for the experience she shared with me...very different from the trauma that began in our family 4 1/2 years ago...and yet with so many of the same feelings and emotions.  

I usually look ahead to see what the Tuesday In "Other" Words quote is going to be, but last week I got busy and didn't get that far.  This afternoon when I saw the above quote, I was taken back to last week's conversation...and then taken back much further, to seven years ago this week.  

When I think back to the changes that began 4 1/2 years ago, I am always reminded that the changes really began a couple of years before that.  February of 2004, to be exact.  It was actually seven years ago Thursday that I uttered the "famous last {and theologically incorrect} words" about which I've shared before:

"I know God won't give us more than we can handle, but I have told Him this week that I am there."
The next evening I was in the back of an ambulance being rushed to Little Rock in a snowstorm because my water had broken at 30 weeks.  Three days later, Ammah Grace was born. 

I've said before that in those first few days of February of 2004, I had no idea we were in the last days of  "normal" as we knew it...ever.   Ammah Grace's birth...the NICU stay and my separation from the rest of the family...the fear of losing a child...and the miracles God worked in her healing...changed me forever.  I am forever a different person, a different wife and mom than I was before.  

 Just as we were breathing a sigh of relief and settling in to enjoy life with our healthy, blessedly normal little girl, my dad's health spiraled downward.  A few months later, he entered Heaven and saw Jesus face to face, while I began a grieving process that would overwhelm the next 18 months of my life.  Again...life would never be the same for this "Daddy's girl".   God taught me much through those days...and again, changed me in ways that probably couldn't have been accomplished any other way.

More "famous last words" in late June of 2006, as I told a friend I felt as though we were finally entering a "new normal"...and finally leaving the overwhelming grief behind.  Just a few days later, the world completely exploded, making the previous 2 1/2 years seem like a picnic.  As I said in this post about that time..."It would take a book to even begin to tell the story of the last 4 1/2 years.  The important part is...God has worked and is continuing to work in our family in amazing ways.  He has taught us things through this that we could never have imagined. "

More than any of the other experiences, the trauma that we discovered July 2, 2006, changed me forever.  I am not and will never be the same wife, the same mom, the same daughter, the same friend, the same person I was before.  It changed every member of our family forever, particularly two of our precious children.   The changes certainly weren't pleasant, and some of them weren't very pretty.  I don't trust people much anymore.  I tend to go into "panic mode" when my children are out of my eyesight in public...especially the girls.  (Peter is now taller than me, so I'm not so worried about someone grabbing him and taking off as I am the rest of them. :))  

There were somewhat "temporary" changes, too...in areas in which I am beginning to get "back to {somewhat} normal now.  My true smile comes much easier now than it did a few years ago.  I rarely have days when I feel like I'm going to have a panic attack walking into a room of people I know in a social setting or at church.  I realized not long ago, when a long-time friend I hadn't seen in years remarked on my children having some of "their mother's transparency", that my "transparency" was one of the things that disappeared completely for a while....but God is slowly bringing it back.  There are areas in which I almost recognize the "7 Years Ago Me" in my 2011 self.  

But, as I shared with my friend last week, the "permanent" changes haven't been all bad...or even mostly so.  God has worked in my life...and in the lives of everyone in our family...through these circumstances in ways I could never have imagined.  Most of all, He has brought me to an intimacy with Him that I don't think would ever have happened any other way.   

God is in the business of change.   His plan is for us to constantly be being transformed...being changed into the image of His Son.   If I am still the same person I was 10 years ago, or one year ago, or even last week...then something is wrong.   I remember hearing at one point years ago that if we leave a worship service without something in us being changed...we haven't really worshiped.   Our daily encounters with Christ should be changing us day unto day...maybe not in the dramatic ways we are changed through life's mega-storms, but changed, continually, nonetheless.  

I am so thankful that even though God's plan is to continually change me, He never changes.  No matter the changes in my life, my heart, or my circumstances, I can rest in the sure certainty that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I will never be the same, but He always is! 

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18-19

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
~Romans 12:2

For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
~Malachi 3:6

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
~Hebrews 13:8

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